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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
20 Jul 2009
Review status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT). The revised manuscript was not accepted.
Determination of an effective trace gas mixing height by differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS)
B. Zhou1, S. N. Yang1, S. S. Wang1, and T. Wagner2 1Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
2Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
Abstract. A new method for the determination of the Mixing layer Height (MH) by the DOAS technique is proposed in this article. The MH can be retrieved by a combination of active DOAS and passive DOAS observations of atmospheric trace gases; here we focus on observations of NO2. Because our observations are sensitive to the vertical distribution of trace gases, we refer to the retrieved layer height as an ''effective trace gas mixing height'' (ETMH). By analyzing trace gas observations in Shanghai over one year (1017 hourly means in 93 days in 2007), the retrieved ETMH was found to range between 0.1 km and 2.8 km (average is 0.78 km); more than 90% of the measurements yield an ETMH between 0.2 km and 2.0 km. The seasonal and diurnal variation of the ETMH shows good agreement with mixing layer heights derived from meteorological observations. We investigated the relationship of the derived ETMH to temperature and wind speed and found correlation coefficients of 0.65 and 0.37, respectively. Also the wind direction has an impact on the measurement to some extent. Especially in cases when the air flow comes from highly polluted areas and the atmospheric lifetime of NO2 is long (e.g. in winter), the NO2 concentration at high altitudes over the measurement site can be enhanced, which leads to an overestimation of the ETMH. Enhanced NO2 concentrations in the free atmosphere and heterogeneity within the mixing layer can cause additional uncertainties. Our method could be easily extended to other species like e.g. SO2, HCHO or Glyoxal. Simultaneous studies of these molecules could yield valuable information on their respective atmospheric lifetimes.

Citation: Zhou, B., Yang, S. N., Wang, S. S., and Wagner, T.: Determination of an effective trace gas mixing height by differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS), Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., 2, 1663-1692, doi:10.5194/amtd-2-1663-2009, 2009.
B. Zhou et al.
B. Zhou et al.


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